January 16, 2013 20:23

Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina denied appeal

Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are serving a two-year sentence for their 'punk prayer' protest

Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina denied appeal

Photo: PA

Imprisoned Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina has been denied appeal by a Russian court.

Alekhina, 24, was asking for a deferral of her two year prison sentence on the grounds that she has a five-year-old son to look after. Her mother is currently looking after the child.

However, Berezniki City Court said her situation was already taken into account when the sentence was decided upon.

David Diaz-Jogeix, Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director, has said of the denial of appeal:

"Today's court ruling is a further travesty of justice. The three Pussy Riot singers should not have been prosecuted in the first place. Today's decision has proven again that the Russian authorities are uncompromising in their suppression of freedom of expression."

He added: "Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova should be released, immediately and unconditionally, while the suspended sentence of Ekaterina Samutsevich should be overturned."

Ekaterina Samutsevich was given a suspended sentence on appeal last year.

Diaz-Jogeix continued: "Today's verdict is in line with the suppressive policies of the Russian authorities, stifling dissent in any form. For one stunt, clearly within their right to freedom of expression, the three punk singers had to endure months of humiliation and hardship in detention - something that continues for Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova."

A documentary detailing the story of imprisoned Russian punk band Pussy Riot will premiere at Sundance Film Festival thiss month.

The documentary, directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, tells the tale of the three Pussy Riot members, who were arrested in March 2012, and the subsequent court case which saw them imprisoned for hooliganism following a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin inside a Moscow cathedral.

The Sundance Film Festival takes place in Utah and will run between January 17-27.

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